Sat, Dec 24, 2005 - Page 6 News List

`Rambo' bites the dust in insurgent Web cartoon


In what appears to be a first, an animated film has appeared on the Internet showing a scenario for attacking tanks in a street battle or blowing up the motorcade of a political leader.

The three-minute cartoon depicts tanks clanking down a street and a cartoon US soldier speaking with a "Rambo"-like accent before he is shot. The intention behind the film was not clear, but one expert dismissed it as amateurish and said it would have little value as a training video for insurgents.

The film bore no sign of who made it and did not show the name of any particular militant group. It appeared on Wednesday on a Web site that monitors and relays extremist material.

On Thursday the film surfaced on a Web forum where al-Qaeda and other militant groups often post propaganda videos and claims for attacks. The forum is also used, however, by sympathizers who post material they have made or found elsewhere.

In the first scene, gunmen maneuver among buildings in a town as tanks roll down the streets. One gunman draws a tank's fire, forcing it to swivel its turret and then a second gunman, in a different position, blasts the tank with a rocket-propelled grenade.

The gunmen are represented as a khaki-colored dots and the tanks have no identifying marks.

In the next scene, a tank stops in a street, a cartoon soldier peeks out of the turret, then stands up and says in a voice resembling that of the Sylvester Stallone character Rambo, "Hello, just a minute. It's for me. I'm talking to myself. Hello, me. Oh, it's you."

Then an insurgent with a thick black beard shoots him dead.

The third and final scene shows a city with a skyscraper and waterfront that recalls New York. The Arabic subtitles say it is a city "where the despot will pass." As a motorcade goes down a street, a speeding car darts out of a side street and rams into the middle of the convoy, blowing up several vehicles.

Dia'a Rashwan, a militant expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, described the video as "the work of amateurs who watch too many films."

"If this were a sophisticated [terrorist] group they would not use this for training at all," Rashwan said.

He added it was the first time he had seen such an animated movie.

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